A company called Veeam offers a free and very powerful backup program that I have installed on many of my customers’ PCs and File Servers. I have performed various PC and server recoveries using this program and the results have always been successful.
Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows can be used to quickly and effectively backup an entire PC or Server and it allows the user to easily restore files and folders from previous dates. It also allows the user to restore a complete image of their computer (including all hard drives and data partitions) that will bring the system back to its exact state as of the date the user selects.
Scheduling and E-mail notification: The program can be configured to send out E-Mail status notifications so you will never need to wonder if your PC or server is being backed up properly. The backups can be scheduled to occur at any time you desire. Most people simply configure Veeam to save its backup data on one or more external hard drives.
Recovery DVD Wizard: Veeam provides a simple recovery image creation wizard that is used for creating a bootable DVD that can be used to restore the PC/Server in the event of a hard drive crash or other catastrophic failure. If the PC’s hard drive fails, the faulty drive will need to be replaced. The computer can then be booted to the Veeam Recovery DVD which will allow the user to restore the latest backup image to the new drive. Windows will boot up and operate exactly the same as it did on the date of the backup image.
In the event of a destructive encryption virus attack, the entire computer can be restored or the user may choose to only recover the infected files and data folders from the backup set.
Downloading and Installing: To install Veeam Agent for Windows, click on one of the Veeam links above at the top of this article. Next, click on the “Get Free Edition, Download Now” button and proceed to create a new free account. Only your name, E-Mail, country and state will be required. Follow any additional instructions that appear and locate and download button for “Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows FREE”. You do not need to activate any of its paid features or enter any license keys to use the program.
Note about Encryption Viruses: I recommend backing up your data to onto (2) or more external hard drives to ensure that the data on your PC and backup drive are not destroyed if an encryption virus infects your computer while the backup drive is plugged in. Encryption viruses will often encrypt external hard drives first before they encrypt the PC/Server itself. The most reliable external USB backup drive I’ve found is the 4TB Western Digital Passport drive.
For Backing Up Multiple PCs In An Office: Veeam provides an option to save its backup data to a shared network folder. This can be a valuable feature when installing the program on multiple PCs in an office. The user simply needs to create a shared data folder on a file server (or network attached storage drive), and all of the PCs can direct their backup data to the shared data folder. Veeam will create a uniquely named subfolder for each PC and all backup data for all PCs in the office will be saved into this location. The shared folder can be located on an external USB drive that is attached to the server. I also know of a method that allows multiple USB hard drives to be shared using the same shared folder name, as long as only 1 drive is plugged in at any time.
Important: For this method, I recommend creating the network shared folder on a Server or NAS in a way that the Windows credentials on each PC do not have access to the shared folder. The credentials (username and password) can be entered directly into the Veeam backup program when setting up the Shared Folder destination in Veeam on each individual PC. That way, if an encryption virus infects the computer, the virus will NOT have any access to destroy the backups on the network shared data folder.
Do you need help? Feel free to reach out if you need help or have problems getting your backup system up and running. Veeam can be a very simple system to configure and use but it also provides more advanced configuration options.
Having proper backups of your data is critical!
Jason E. Bagnell, President
JB Computer Services, Inc.